John Hernandez death case: Timeline of events

Terry Thompson
Terry Thompson

HOUSTON – Here is a timeline of events surrounding the death of John Hernandez after a confrontation at a Denny's restaurant in east Harris County:

Sunday, May 28, 2017

  • Incident reported at 11:30 p.m. outside Denny’s restaurant in the 17200 block of Crosby Freeway in east Harris County.
  • John Hernandez hospitalized after he was restrained by a Harris County off-duty deputy and her husband.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

  • John Hernandez dies at the hospital after he was removed from life support, according to his family.
  • Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez speaks to the press, says the investigation is continuing and that he has reached out to the Texas Rangers and the Department of Justice in an effort to remain transparent.
  • Surveillance camera from inside the Denny's restaurant surfaces, partially shows the incident.

Friday, June 2, 2017

  • John Hernandez’s family holds protest outside the Harris County Sheriff's Office, demanding "justice for Johnny."

Monday, June 5, 2017

  • An attorney for John Hernandez’s family releases video, showing what he described as an "illegal chokehold" that was used to subdue Hernandez. Harris County Sheriff's Office releases statement about the video saying they were aware of the video and that the case remained a high priority.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

  • Protesters march in Houston, demanding from Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez that charges be filed against Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry Thompson.
  • Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, who was out of town, releases a written statement, saying she wants to ensure the process is fair for both the victim and the accused. Harris County First Assistant District Attorney Tom Berg and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez call for witnesses to come forward.
  • Greg Cagle, the attorney speaking for the Thompsons speaks with KPRC 2, saying Terry Thompson was “not the aggressor in this event,” and that the Thompsons are concerned for their safety.
  • John Hernandez’s death is ruled a homicide. The Harris County medical examiner says an autopsy found that Hernandez died from anoxic encephalopathy because of strangulation with chest compression.
  • Chauna Thompson is placed on "administrative duty indefinitely.”

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

  • The Harris County Sheriff's Office and the Harris County District Attorney's Office announce case will be presented to a grand jury.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

  • Grand jury hears case, and indict the Thompsons on murder charges.
  • The Thompsons turn themselves in to authorities hours after the indictments were issued, and each post bonds of $100,000.

Friday, June 9, 2017

  • Chauna Thompson is placed indefinitely on unpaid administrative leave.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

  • John Hernandez's funeral is held at St. Dominic Church in northeast Harris County.

Monday, June 12, 2017

  • John Hernandez's family files civil lawsuit alleging the Thompsons are responsible for his death.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

  • Chauna Thompson and Terry Thompson appear in court for the first time. The Thompsons' attorneys claim Terry Thompson acted in self-defense.
  • Protesters block the Thompsons' vehicle from leaving the courthouse, but law enforcement helps clear the scene.

Friday, July 21, 2017

  • Chauna Thompson was terminated by Harris Co. Sheriff's Office in the wake of John Hernandez's choking death and four other deputies will face disciplinary action.

Friday, August 4, 2017

  • Chauna Thompson, deputy terminated in wake of Denny's choking death, appeals firing. Thompson's attorney filed the appeal, saying Thompson "denies the truth of the charges made, takes exception to the legal sufficiency of the charges, and challenges the termination as action not fitting the alleged offenses or conditions."

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

  • The trial of Terry Thompson begins. Testimony continues for more than a week before jurors are handed the case.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

  • A mistrial is declared at Terry Thompson's trial after jurors told the judge they were unable to reach a unanimous decision.

Monday, June 25, 2018

  • Prosecutors announce they will retry Terry Thompson.

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018

  • The retrial of Terry Thompson begins. Testimony continues for nearly 10 days before jurors handed the case.

Friday, Nov. 2, 2018

  • Jurors begin deliberating at Terry Thompson's retrial.

Monday, Nov. 5, 2018

  • Terry Thompson is convicted of murder.

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018

  • Terry Thompson is sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing John Hernandez.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

  • Prosecutors drop all criminal charges against Chauna Thompson, saying they would not be able to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

About the Authors:

An Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist, Amanda Cochran is a Houston transplant from New York City who has embraced her new city with both arms -- living and breathing news and all things Texas.

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.